When I first adjusted to life with Noah, we sometimes wasted time not knowing what to do together. I would occasionally get to the end of the day and realize that we had not played outside or that he didn’t get adequate tummy time (cue Mom guilt). However, we now have a system that leads to meaningful play and fulfilling days for us both. I created a “components of a great day” list that we try to accomplish at some point during our day. These components might be different based on your interests and the interests of your baby but here are some suggestions.
Swinging: Noah has a swing on our front porch but he also likes to swing in my lap on our full size swing. If you don’t have a swing then you could visit a local park.
Bubbles: I have blown bubbles for Noah since he was tiny and he has always been fascinated by them. He is now able to pop the bubbles as I blow them.
Walks: We try to go on a walk everyday. Sometimes we walk in our neighborhood but other times we take the stroller to the park.
Hiking: David carries Noah in the Ergo when we go hiking and it’s a great way to enjoy being outdoors.
Picnics: Even before Noah was old enough for a snack I would spread a blanket underneath a tree and let him watch the leaves above.
Play instruments: Noah uses his set of play instruments daily. However, he also plays with a drum that I made from a coffee can so you can improvise.
Singing: David and I sing out of a church hymnal as part of Noah’s evening routine. I also sing to him throughout the day.
Listening to music: When I was pregnant I listened to classical music and Noah has always enjoyed listening to instrumental music. Sometimes we play music during his evening bath and sometimes I will play it softly while he is playing. Music is a great way to set a peaceful mood in your home.
Going to the library: Our local library has a monthly reading program for babies that we attend. We also visit the library frequently to check out new books and read together.
Reading the Bible: David and I read one chapter out of our family Bible to Noah during his evening routine.
Storytelling: If you don’t have a collection of books then make up stories to tell your child throughout the day. Reading and storytelling are wonderful for language development.
Baby wearing: I am a big fan of baby wearing because I found that it was a great way to bond.
I cuddle Noah when I read to him and when he is nursing. I make a point not to play on my phone when I am holding him.
Baby led weaning: I started letting Noah try foods around 6 months of age. He LOVES to feed himself and I think that it is a wonderful opportunity for sensory exploration (although it makes a huge mess).
Bath time: Noah plays in the bath every night before bed. Baths help him get out the last of his energy resulting in a better nights sleep. However, we do not use soap every night since that can be irritating to sensitive skin.
Splash pads, pools, the beach etc.: Water play is one of Noah’s favorite activities which is why it made our list.
Tummy time: Playing independently (not the same as unsupervised) on his tummy is a wonderful way to develop motor skills. I like to set out toys and activities and then sit back and watch how he plays with them. I think this is such a wonderful way to provide freedom and I enjoy watching him think and problem solve on his own.
Our days are so much more enjoyable when Noah is adequately rested. Naps are also a great time for me to get things done around the house and he always wakes up in such a better mood. I prioritize his naps so much that I will go home in the middle of running errands even if we have to head back out later.
I love our days together and think that this list is helpful in creating a good routine and flow for our day. However, if we have something that we want to do that takes up most of the day (for example going to the zoo) then most of these items can be incorporated into our evening routine. If completely miss one of these items, I don’t worry about it because we can get to it the next day.